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Don’t Let Decision-Making Steal Your Time

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Don’t Let Decision-Making Steal Your Time

You know the scenario. You have to weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision. There may be uncertainties, worries, time factors and safety issues. Decisions have to be made in the office, the bedroom, the kitchen, and in the classroom, all day and every day. All these weigh on our minds as we try to decide if we should let our children play in a park, get the bus or walk, or ask the boss for some time off. If you are like, you spend far too much time in making decisions. Here are 6 practical ways to speed up the process. They also provide a fascinating insight into the whole decision-making process.

1. Try not to get analysis paralysis

You know the situation when you start to over-think the decision. You spend far too much time weighing up the ifs, buts, and what-ifs. One practical way to speed up all this is to set a deadline. You tell yourself that you have to make a decision in half-an-hour’s time, or slightly longer, if you prefer. This forces you to make a decision and you avoid unnecessary procrastination.

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2. Try to narrow down the issues

Write down what is making the decision so difficult. It may be that things like lack of motivation, peer pressure, and parental interference, are complicating the whole issue. Then spend some time thinking about your goals. Finally, think about

all the consequences of whatever decision you will make. shoesdecisions

    3. Try to build in failure

    We all make bad decisions. I can think back over my life and shudder at all the wrong turns I took and some pretty bad decisions I made. But, I was also able to learn from these. We should expect failure and learn from it. Once you know that a bad decision is a real possibility, it will help you speed up the decision-making process.

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    4. Try to recognize your cognitive bias and allow yourself to process and accept other points of view

    “Our brain accepts what the eyes see and our eye looks for whatever our brain wants.”- Daniel Gilbert

    The way we see the world subjectively is known in psychology as a cognitive bias. It affects our judgment and our decisions. This is very well explained in Daniel Gilbert’s book, Stumbling on Happiness. This type of cognitive bias can take many forms. One example is known as the confirmation bias. You may not be aware of it, but you are attracted to people who have similar views to yours. You visit websites and news sources which confirm your world view. The problem is that while this is comforting, you often ignore and dismiss views which are just as valid, but do not happen to fit in with your own tunnel vision of the world. The Internet has made this problem even worse because it is much easier to find larger quantities of people sharing our view, which in turn, reinforces it. When we have to decide on something, we are unaware of how much this confirmation bias is affecting our decision making. Being aware of our limited world view and seeking other opinions and experiences will help us to make more rational and less subjective decisions.

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    5. Try to save time by allowing the experiences of others to be a guideline as opposed to having to make your own mistakes repetitively

    Before you buy a certain make of car, you may want to ask about someone who has bought the same model. The person’s opinion and experience can save you time in coming to a decision. If you have to make a decision about which treatment option to take when you are ill, it is often helpful to seek out personal experiences from those who have had the same treatment. Researchers have shown how useful this is in helping to make a decision although they warn that it has to be balanced with factual information as well.

    6. Try to match your decision with your core values

     “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”- Mahatma Gandhi

    In the corporate world, many companies are committed to their core values such as being accountable, responsible, and ready for innovation. But how are these reflected in their business decisions? They will make sure that they are socially and environmentally responsible. On a personal level, this can help speed up your decision making, just as effectively. You are committed to honesty, punctuality, openness, and loyalty when selecting friends, partners, and business partners. Loyalty may be at the top of your list. You will have to make decisions about helping friends in need. You may have to defend them when they are criticized unfairly. You would never repeat gossip about them. Making decisions like these are easier because they match your core values. If you keep these 6 steps in mind, you will be able to spend less time on decision making and also be more relaxed about it.

    Featured photo credit: Decisions/ Martin Fisch via flickr.com

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    More by this author

    Robert Locke

    Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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    Last Updated on January 13, 2022

    How to Use Travel Time Effectively

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    How to Use Travel Time Effectively

    Most of us associate travel and time with what we’re going to do one we get to our destination. Planning and mapping out what to do once you arrive can certainly make for a more pleasurable vacation, but there are things you can do while you are on your way that can make it even better.

    Sure, you can plan for the things you’re going to do on your vacation while you are travelling en route – but what about making use of that time for other things that you don’t usually do when you’re at home? You don’t need to have your gadgets with you to do it, and you can really connect with yourself if you take the time to manage your life while heading towards your vacation destination.

    Here are some great tips to help you with your time management while you travel, some of which are more conventional than others. Nonetheless, you can find out what works best for you and apply them accordingly depending on when and how you are travelling.

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    1. Take Your Time Getting There

    As I write this, I’m on a flight to San Francisco. Flying is the fastest way to get from place to place, and for many people it’s really the only way to travel.

    But I’ve often taken the train or ferry on trips so that I have extra time without distraction to get more done. I’m not worrying about navigation or lack of space to do what I want to do. Instead I’m able to focus on getting stuff done during the time I’ve got without feeling rushed. For example, when I took the train from Vancouver to Portland, it was an eight hour trip and I managed to get a ton of writing done and closed a lot of open loops. It also was less expensive than flying, which was a bonus.

    Sometimes taking the long way to get somewhere on vacation can be the best thing for you to get somewhere with your life.

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    2. Go Gadget-Free

    This is going to be a tough one for a lot of you. But why do you need to bring your gadgets with you when you go on vacation? It isn’t be a bad idea to leave all but one of them behind, and only pull out that one when you absolutely need to do so. In some countries, you’d be wise to be discreet with them anyway since flaunting them in front of those that are less fortunate than you isn’t a good practice. While it may not seem like flaunting to you, in different cultures it can definitely come across that way.

    If you can’t go gadget-free, then at least go Internet-free. If you use a task management app that requires syncing across your multiple devices to be effective, remember that if you only have the one device with you then it can be the “master device” for the time being and will store your data locally anyway. Just sync up when you get home.

    3. Reflect and Prepare

    Finally, going on any sort of excursion gives you the perfect opportunity to reflect on where you’ve been. The fact you have removed yourself from where you usually are can give you a perspective that you simply can’t get when you’re at home. You may want to journal your thoughts during this time – and by taking more time to get to your destination you’ll have more time to dig deeper into it.

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    After a period of reflection – however long that happens to be – you can then begin to not only prepare for the rest of your travels, you can prepare for the rest of what happens afterward. The reflection period is important, though. You need to really know where you’ve been in order to properly look at where you want to be. Time away from things gives you that chance.

    Conclusion

    Traveling isn’t always about where you’re going and how quickly you can get there. In fact, it’s rarely about that at all.

    More often it’s where you’re at in your head that will dictate how much you benefit from traveling. So don’t just go somewhere fast. Instead, take your time on the way there and take the time to connect with not only where you are but who are while you’re there.

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    If you do that, you’ll have a better chance to be who you want to be when you leave.

    Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

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